Rise in our agri ex­ports

NewsMail - Wide Bay Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

THE to­tal value of Aus­tralian agri-food ex­ports has in­creased for the sev­enth con­sec­u­tive year – up by $3.9 bil­lion to al­most $50 bil­lion – ac­cord­ing to Ru­ral Bank’s 2016/17 Aus­tralian Agri­cul­ture Trade Per­for­mance re­port.

This up­surge in ex­port value is pre­dom­i­nantly due to the bumper year for Aus­tralia’s grains and fi­bre ex­ports, which re­sulted in the crop­ping ex­port value ris­ing by $3.7 bil­lion last year alone. Crop­ping over­took beef and cat­tle as the most valu­able agri­cul­tural ex­port sec­tor in 2016/17, thanks to a 49% in­crease in pro­duc­tion, more than off­set­ting lower ex­port prices for wheat and coarse grains.

Aus­tralian wheat ex­ports to In­dia rose by 920% after wheat tar­iffs were re­duced, while In­done­sia, the Philip­pines and Viet­nam all bought sig­nif­i­cantly more Aus­tralian wheat. Volumes of Aus­tralian canola in­creased by 85% with strong Euro­pean de­mand also giv­ing a boost to prices. Legume volumes were also up 85% over the past 12 months, with sub­con­ti­nent mar­kets soak­ing up this ex­tra vol­ume.

Con­versely, beef and cat­tle ex­port val­ues de­clined by $1.8 bil­lion, as sup­ply tight­ened and com­pe­ti­tion from the USA and Brazil heated up in Asian mar­kets.

The value of dairy ex­ports also fell by 1.3% over the year, with pro­duc­tion de­clin­ing across Aus­tralia.

The an­nual re­port is com­piled by Ru­ral Bank’s spe­cial­ist in­sights team Ag An­swers and pro­vides in-depth anal­y­sis of Aus­tralia’s agri-food trade per­for­mance across cat­tle and beef, crops, wool and cot­ton, sheep, dairy, wine, hor­ti­cul­ture, sugar and seafood.

Ru­ral Bank general man­ager agribusi­ness An­drew Smith said while this year’s growth is un­likely to be re­peated in 2017/18, the long-term out­look re­mains pos­i­tive.

“This year’s value in­crease in crop­ping was largely to do with ex­cep­tional sea­sonal con­di­tions that we haven’t seen a re­peat of this year. How­ever, the long-term trend of ex­pand­ing in­ter­na­tional mar­kets will con­tinue to drive value in Aus­tralia’s ex­ports.

“Aus­tralia con­tin­ues to cap­i­talise on the grow­ing di­ver­sity of Asian de­mand. Where one com­mod­ity sees a de­cline, an­other makes up for it, a pat­tern that has helped mit­i­gate de­clines in dairy, hor­ti­cul­ture and cat­tle and beef,” Mr Smith said.

While China re­duced im­ports of Aus­tralian cot­ton, In­dia took up the slack, in­creas­ing its in­take of Aussie cot­ton by a stag­ger­ing 569% or $326 mil­lion. Bangladesh im­ports of Aus­tralian cot­ton also in­creased by 270%.

De­spite re­duc­ing its in­take of Aus­tralian cot­ton, China re­newed its ap­petite for Aus­tralian wool, which sup­ported a 14% in­crease in the value of the com­mod­ity ex­ported. This growth is ex­pected to con­tinue.

Mr Smith said cot­ton should con­tinue its value growth in the com­ing year as even more land is utilised for cot­ton pro­duc­tion.

“While we ex­pect the value of beef ex­ports to be flat over the short term, over the medium term we see a slight uptick as de­mand from Asia grows,” he said.

“De­mand for dairy prod­ucts is start­ing to in­crease, pro­vid­ing our dairy farm­ers some op­ti­mism for the fu­ture.”

PHOTO: FILE

TOP CROP: A bumper crop­ping sea­son has propped up Aus­tralia’s agri-food ex­ports.

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